“I bet you didn’t see this twist.” – Officer X
I’ve been working on plot and character development for my book. It’s been a very rugged road so far with many bumps, unexpected hurdles, and hair pulling moments. I can honestly say I haven’t enjoyed, but the moment it’s published and people say they love it… That moment will make up for it all. I’m counting the days til that day.
Twists are a lovely thing in a story. They make you go.. “oh! I never saw that coming!” or “Oh my gosh! That’s crazy!” They make the story ten times better. They make you want to go and read everything else by the author. I love twists.
One of my favorite storytellers who uses twists like a pro is Christopher Nolan. He isn’t an author exactly but he’s a great storyteller. I love the twists he adds to every one of his movies. Inception has to be by far my favorite for its uniqueness. The idea of going into someone else’s dreams. The idea of living in a dream. It’s intriguing and original.
And here I am going through my book and trying to Christopher Nolan it up. Add spice. It’s got some spice. And I think it’s an amazing story with the right amount of suspense and action. But my dilemma is how much spice should I add before it becomes too spicy? In other words, how many twists can I add to my story before it becomes ridiculous.
Oh by the way, he’s really the bad guy. And that other guy works for SpaceX. And that other guy wants to become president. And the real bad guy isn’t really bad but good. And there’s some random character I forgot to tell you about. He kills the entire world. The end.
Twists obviously can’t come out of the blue like some random object. Hints need to be given discreetly. The asteroid doesn’t just randomly hit Earth one day. It comes hurtling through space into our orbit. NASA freaks out. The government freaks out. Newspapers freak out. People freak out. Tension is built. Soon the question, “Will it hit Earth?” becomes “When will it hit Earth and where?” And cities become evacuated and people start going to church. Twists are like asteroids. They need to be built up but of course hidden. Like no one expects an asteroid to come hurtling through space.
In Interstellar, Christopher Nolan does a famously well job of hiding the fact that Cooper is the one behind the bookcase. That Cooper is the one trying to communicate with Murphy, not aliens. He hides some hints in plain sight that you don’t expect. Such as the interview with Murphy when she’s old. The spacecraft that Cooper randomly finds on the ground. The sand particles forming lines on the floor. And S.T.A.Y.
I’m trying to figure out whether or not I should add more to my book. That’s the big question for me. I’ve decided that I should finish the rewrite and then worry about this. Which is probably a good idea. I don’t want to jump the gun. Especially when I haven’t even finished yet.